Stretchable and colorless freestanding microwire arrays for transparent solar cells with flexibility
Sung Bum Kang (Advisor: Kyoung Jin Choi)
Light:science and applications


Transparent solar cells (TSCs) are emerging devices that combine the advantages of visible transparency and light-to-electricity conversion. Currently, existing TSCs are based predominantly on organics, dyes, and perovskites; however, the rigidity and colour-tinted transparent nature of those devices strongly limit the utility of the resulting TSCs for real-world applications. Here, we demonstrate a flexible, colour-neutral, and high-efficiency TSC based on a freestanding form of n-silicon microwires (SiMWs). Flat-tip SiMWs with controllable spacing are fabricated via deep reactive ion etching and embedded in a freestanding transparent polymer matrix. The light transmittance can be tuned from ~10% to 55% by adjusting the spacing between the microwires. For TSCs, a heterojunction is formed with a p-type polymer in the top portion of the n-type flat-tip SiMWs. Ohmic contact with an indium-doped ZnO film occurs at the bottom, and the side surface has an Al2O3 passivation layer. Furthermore, slanted-tip SiMWs are developed by a novel solvent-assisted wet etching method to manipulate light absorption. Finite-difference time-domain simulation revealed that the reflected light from slanted-tip SiMWs helps light-matter interactions in adjacent microwires. The TSC based on the slanted-tip SiMWs demonstrates 8% efficiency at a visible transparency of 10% with flexibility. This efficiency is the highest among Si-based TSCs and comparable with that of state-of-the-art neutral-colour TSCs based on organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite and organics. Moreover, unlike others, the stretchable and transparent platform in this study is promising for future TSCs.